Competing against Apple’s iPad has been a fruitless endeavor for most who have tried, and sadly for the company’s rivals, that’s not going to change any time soon. In fact, the iPad is probably going to claim a materially larger share of the tablet market than anyone expects.
According to Needham analyst Charlie Wolf, the iPad will dominate the tablet market for the better part of the next decade. It will end this year with an 85 percent share, and while that percentage will decline gradually over the ensuing years, it will never fall so much that Apple loses the lead it claimed when the device first debuted. In 2015, for example, the iPad will still have a 72.5 percent share with more than 101 million units shipped.
And in 2020?
In 2020, Wolf figures the iPad will command a 60 percent share of the tablet with nearly 140 million units shipped.
How is that possible given unceasing cavalcade of new tablets parading to market? Simple says, Wolf. None of those tablets has managed to gain any traction with consumers.
“Future tablets are more likely to steal share from one another than from the iPad,” Wolf explains. “The tablet market has been inundated with new models — the Xoom running on Android’s Honeycomb operating system, RIM’s Playbook running on the company’s QNX operating system, HP’s Touchpad running on Web OS and many others. All of them have been greeted with a yawn and lackluster sales. None have been able to undercut the aggressively priced iPad, because the iPad’s component costs are materially lower than those of competing tablets. In the case of tablets, the only thing that matters — that turns what’s otherwise a slab into a versatile device — are the apps. And the applications available on the tablets introduced this year number at best in the hundreds. In comparison, more than 100,000 applications are available on the iPad.”
That will, of course, change over time. Still, that’s quite a lead Apple’s nabbed and one that it will undoubtedly continue to extend even as its rivals rush to catch it.